Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo
Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo

Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.btslo.com/
  • Phone: (805) 545-8000
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Friday - Wednesday: 11:30am - 2:30pm, Thursday: 11:30am - 2:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: European, Italian
  • Executive Chef: Antonio Varia
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Delivery, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Buona Tavola offers full service catering featuring Antonio Varia's Northern Italian cuisine for any event on the Central Coast. Years of experience on the Princess Cruise Lines have prepared Antonio to cater any event from 25 to 1000 people.
  • Private Party Facilities: Our beautiful heated and covered garden courtyard can accommodate up to 100 guests, with a separate area for parties of 40 or less.
  • Private Party Contact: Keilah Smith 8055458000

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Santa Rosa St.
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo
For over 18 years Antonio Varia has been delighting the palates of the Central Coast with his inventive yet traditional Northern Italian cuisine. Using only the freshest local and imported ingredients, Buona Tavola offers a romantic garden setting to enjoy fine dining lunch and dinner. The esteemed Zagat Survey gave Buona Tavola the highest ratings of any restaurant in the county, calling it "Superb dining with great wine in a charming setting... one of the best between Los Angeles and San Francisco." The loyal staff at Buona Tavola still consists of more than a handful of the original opening crew, and as you walk through the front door you truly become a part of the family. The skill that comes with hard-won years of experience and the area's freshest seasonal ingredients are apparent in every dish served. Plus the main ingredient comes from Antonio himself: "I cook with love!"
Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNotable Wine List
Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo reviews from OpenTable diners
62 reviews since July 30, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.3
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelModerate
89% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (38)great for outdoor dining (38)special occasion (38)romantic (30)neighborhood gem (24)notable wine list (22)good for groups (10)great for lunch (8)hot spot (5)great for brunch (3)kid-friendly (3)scenic view (3)late-night find (2)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • Nice Experience
    Jeep547
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    It would be hard to ask for more from a restaurant. The service was excellent and friendly and the food was terrific. The polenta secondi was incredible and trout main the best I have experienced in recent memory. Considering the service and the quality of the food, the pricing is acceptable.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    my wife thought it was the best Italian food she has had outside of Italy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Find
    StefVIP
    Dined on 11/11/2014
    Driving south on 101 searching for good spots for a late lunch in SLO. Went to Buona Tavola based on reviews. I had the parpadelle and my wife had linguine vongole. Both were spectacular!! Linguine was very generous with the clams, which along with the sauce, made this dish one of the best we've ever had. Will definitely seek this place out next time we are anywhere in the area.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always a treat
    chatty
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    We have never been disappointed when we dine here. SLO is one of our favorite places to visit and we always dine here. From the appetizers to dessert we enjoyed everything. Service was great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Classic Italian
    HughL
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    The risotto I had with seafood is the best I've ever had, and I've had a lot. Service was incredible and prices were reasonable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 11/3/2014
    Food was superb, fresh and delicious. Our server Bernecia, was very knowledable, regarding the food and wine selections. A wonderful evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Tip top excellent
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    We have always had a lovely dining experience at this established restaurant in downtown San Luis Obispo. The food is fresh, well prepared, nicely presented and excellent. Wine served is excellent, as well, and fair prices. The service is personalized and efficient. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Not worth it
    Cjram
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    Our bill was 90 for 2 pasta dishes and 1 salad. My pasta was awful, the fettuccine was incredibly dense. The meat sauce was okay but definitely not appealing. My boyfriend got the seafood pasta, I didn't try it but I could smell the fishiness. I wouldn't go back
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Never Disappointing
    CSTAN
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    I've been here at least a dozen times. I've never had a bad meal and I've never had a poor experience with staff. Can't go wrong.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Buona Tavola Amazing!
    NapaFoodie
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Everything we ordered was fantastic. Generous portions. 6 of us able to share an appetizer, 2 salads and an entrée each. Highly recommend the eggplant pasta (tagliatorini?). Make sure you get a reservation in advance and ask to be seated on the back terrace/garden. Candle placed on dessert for our daughters bday (requested when I made open table reservation a week before we dined!).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • very disappointed
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    We set reservations a week in advance for our anniversary. The hostess was sweet and sat us, but we never got greeted by our server. For 20 minutes we sat there waiting to order. 2 tables were seated AFTER us and were already served their drinks and appetizers. We are so disappointed that we left before ordering. It ruined our experience and we won't be back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    The service was great and friendly. Our waiter, Joey, was friendly and professional. Steven the bus-boy should get prompted, but then they would have to higher two or three more people. The food was outstanding, very fresh, with a wide selection.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • pleasant early sunday evening
    paulthebruce
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    We arrived first, as the opened at 5:30 on Sundays. And a few other tables filled during the first half hour. All was well, the food excellent and after a couple of hours of walking and shopping preceding the meal a good time to retire home.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great ambiance/food
    Yumdiddleyscrumptious
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    GREAT restaurant whose true glory is hidden behind a small front-facing cafe area. The large main patio dining area is tucked behind the front and therefore you'd never know it was there! Hanging lights, old grand trees, and an overhead partial tent make for a wonderful ambiance for any occasion. Would definitely reccommend to anyone visiting slo looking for wonderful handcrafted cuisine and an overall great experience. Make sure to request the patio for reservations, you don't want to miss it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Yum!
    Nance
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    For lunch, 3 of us had the same dish: Tortelloni di zucca alla salvia e mascarpone. What a difference home made pasta makes! Couldn't have been better. 2 had the soup of the day, which they also loved. 1 had the Rose wine though, and said it was awful. We were to full for dessert, but perhaps next time! The service was very nice and attentive enough. The setting in the patio is lovely and quaint, with soft music playing in the background. Will definitely go back! Nance (from Saratoga, CA)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic!
    judh5587
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    Best dinner I have ever had in SLO. The food was rich and delicious, and even a basic pasta with basic tomato sauce tasted out of this world. The service was incredible as well...I even thought I was becoming friends with my waiter! Not to mention how beautiful the dining area was outside, surrounded by fairy lights. I can't wait to go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Patio felt like Italy!
    BobRiceVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Sitting on the patio was reminiscent of summer in Italy! Everything was wonderful. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Expectations not met
    Benzgolfer
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    The reviews set the expectations of this little place higher than we received. Though we had a reservation, we waited about 20 minutes for a table. Given a table in the corner with an awkward wall cutout. The table was super wobbly, and in order to fix it, we had to hold our waters and wine for several minutes. I asked for a different table, but to no avail. They have a pesto gnocchi on the online menu, but wasn't avail when we went. The gnocchi they did have was very dry. The pasta also was very dry. Restaraunt was not crowded, so not sure what issues they were having. We will not go back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • skiermel
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Food was great, unusual but good. Made a reservation online, there is no place to ask for inside or outside dining.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • New Favorite For Me
    WineandDiner
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Had an absolutely wonderful dinner and experience at Buona Tavola. Food was delicious, service was great. Relaxing evening. Never felt rushed. Definitely looking forward to going back next time we visit SLO!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • An annual treat
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    A group of us come to SLO nearly annually for a workshop at Cal Poly, and we always make a point of dining at Buona Tavola. Outdoor dining (with a canvas pullover roof in the event of cool weather or rain). Very good northern Italian cuisine. Nice wine list. Excellent, helpful, friendly service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • JudyVIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    We had a good meal here the other night. The minnestrone was quite good. We also had bruschetta, a chicken with mustard sauce and the risotto. The best of these dishes was the risotto. We were celebrating a birthday and they brough a little tiramisu with a candle. It was a nice recognition without making a spectacle! If we returned to the restaurant, I would ask for patio seating as the table we were given felt a little crowded even though it was upfront near the windows.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Top FIVE in San Luis Obispo
    Notbigbux
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    As a resident for over ten years, the improvements to the food quality and enviroment made by the relatively new manager Mr. Fabbretti are outstanding. I had the evenings special Italian Pork Sausage with Papperadella and it was as good at Italy. My two guests were equally as pleased with their meals. The new waiter Allesandro is direct from Italy and waited on our table in true Continental Style that is even dissappearing in Europe. It was like a trip to Italy without leaving our hometown! Great Dinner Great Evening.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, special occasion, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great restaurant
    PatL
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    I have been going to this restaurant for years and am never disappointed. Excellent across the board!!!!!!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good looked better than it tasted
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    My wife and I decided to try this place for a nice dinner out on evening and we were very disappointed. I ordered theBruschetta ai funghi trifolati to start and the mushrooms were over cooled and the bottom of the bread was charred! Literally blackened. We did not want to order anything else after that so we paid our bill and left. Very disappointing
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Charming spot in downtown SLO
    royalfork
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    Was there with new freshman daughter for SOAR. First night in SLO, first meal too. Lovely spot next to the movie theater. We dined in the back courtyard, which had an intimate feel with trees and lights. Food was delicious and our server, a recent Cal Poly grad, was terrific. A great start to our Cal Poly experience.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Nice outdoor dining area. My wife & I dined there on our last evening in SLO, We both had the Veal Scalloppini & it was excellent. Service was very good and attentive. Would recommend it.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 35 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 30, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.3
    • Food4.3
    • Ambiance4.3
    • Service4.2
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 324 reviews are from the Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo reviews archive.
  • creifer
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    Lovely menu with some delicious specials. The salmon special was a healthy and outstanding dish. The service and was excellent as well. We particularly appreciated the knowledge of local wines since we are not from the area. Recommended for anyone visiting SLO.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • SLP Staple
    JoJoVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Whenever I am in town, I always make a reservation here. The food is always good, there is a nice selection of specials, and the staff is friendly!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Quiet Lunch
    Anachronism
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    Met a friend from San Francisco who was driving through. We met here for lunch at 2 pm on a weekday. We practically had the whole back patio to ourselves and it was fabulous! The service was excellent, the food was incredible. I had a salmon salad that was absolutely delicious. The ambiance was pure European. I can't recommend it highly enough!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Real Italian
    JIDCO
    Dined on 7/14/2014
    If you like Italian food, you will be happy at Buona Tavola.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Authentic Italian
    Foodlover
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    We always love the food here and have never been disappointed with the quality of the food and service. I do wish they had more on the wine list though. Other than that, it is always a big hit with friends and family.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely Dinner for 10!
    epialla
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    I made reservations for a pre-wedding dinner with the wedding party at Buona Tavola. We were given a great table outside on the patio (with heaters to keep everyone warm). We had a last minute addition and were accommodated swiftly - they added a table to the end instead of trying to cramp us in which was nice. Matt, our server, was fantastic and very attentive. The food was incredible - very fresh and flavorful. I would absolutely recommend Buona Tavola!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food, not too expensive
    Southwesterner
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    Portions are ample. We were happy splitting a big salad and one entree. Service is pleasant, and provided good advice on wines and entrees. Slightly less expensive than comparable restaurants in the area.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • **Ask for courtyard seating**
    Hunt4theBest
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Would certainly recommend this restaurant. Where most italian restaurants seem to thrive in chaos and being malfunction junction, this place takes pride in impeccable service! Very friendly, courteous staff who have a passion for what they do and yes, the food is very good as well!!! Note: If booking via OpenTable must specify request for courtyard seating in the notes section or else the reservation will automatically be made for inside seating.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lenny Green
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Took my family here for dinner on Sunday, June 15 following graduation. I was disappointed to see that a fixed menu was in place. When I booked the reservation, there was no mention of this. When I brought it up to the hostess and server, they could care less. Since I booked the reservation several weeks in advance due to dinning demand in SLO, I could not walk out to find another dinning location. It was very disappointing. In addition, the food was fair, at best. Based upon failure to disclose their graduation dinner menu, and the food, I would not recommend this restaurant. I do not have plans to return with my next student who will be attending SLO.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good but not Great
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Went to dinner at Buona Tavola for Father's Day. Made reservations over a week in advance through "Open Table". At mid-afternoon on Father's Day receive call from restaurant indicating that menu would be prix fix (should have been notified when the reservations were first made). Was seated in dining room since patio area was booked. Dining room is nice and somewhat intimate. Service was very good although waiter seemed to want to rush things a bit. Food was good but was expecting something a bit more exciting for the price.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • KrumbsfromKovVIP
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Had reservations during a special menu night (Cal Poly graduation) but it was still a wonderful meal. Service was good even though there were many big parties going on. We both had lamb sirloin--excellent! Salads were very tasty. Will return for their regular menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Unbelievable Italian Food
    SteveVIP
    Dined on 6/11/2014
    This is by far the best northern Italian restaurant at which I've ever had the pleasure of dinning. The menu is large, wine list robust and the food is preapred upon order yet arrives without much delay. It very much reminds me of a good European meal during which you have a few minutes, not the long delay experienced at some eateries, to chat in between courses. As good as the last item that you consumed was, it seems like the next is even superior. We drive three hours from the SF Bay Area for lunch, which is a real bargin, and is every bit as good as the dinner menu. Because of the large number of choices, I've never asked for something special, but I bet that they'd accommodate you if you did. It's just that kind of amazing place.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • delicious!
    dineforwork
    Dined on 5/14/2014
    This is a fantastic restaurant. Service was great - food was absolutely delicious. We were a party of 6 and we were all very pleased with our dinner selections. Staff was attentive throughout the entire meal. Highly recommend to anyone in the mood for Italian
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate